Mumbai firm under scanner
The Balaji Group, which allegedly had a role in the former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda’s illegal earnings case, reportedly used fake bills to accept cash from Koda and transfer the money to foreign destinations, reports Manish Pachouly.india Updated: Nov 03, 2009 23:49 IST
The Balaji Group, which allegedly had a role in the former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda’s illegal earnings case, reportedly used fake bills to accept cash from Koda and transfer the money to foreign destinations.
Income-Tax officials in Mumbai, who conducted raids on the Balaji Bullions and Commodities (India) Private Limited at Zaveri Bazar and its sister company, Balaji Universal Tradelink at Nariman Point, said the bills showed purchase or import of gold, diamonds and other precious commodities.
They said the group companies used to issue cheques to Koda’s aides in exchange for cash and deposited them in three bank accounts, operated by alleged hawala operators Manoj Punamiya, Arvind Vyas and Lalit Jain.
Once credited, the money was withdrawn in a day or two and transferred to various foreign countries.
Hawala, traditionally known as hundi, is an informal money transfer system, which skirts around governments to avoid paying taxes and questions on unaccounted money.
The group, raided by Mumbai’s I-T department on Saturday and Sunday, is alleged to have had transactions worth Rs 1,500 crore on behalf of Koda through the bank accounts during the last two years. The Balaji Group, which has 10 companies, is worth Rs 1,000 crore.
“We are yet to verify all the entries shown in the accounts,” said an official, adding that once the entries were verified, the exact modus operandi would come out.
I-T officials said the company was found to be involved in this operation since it was founded in December 2007 by Punamiya. To make the operation easier, Koda’s close aides Binod Sinha and Sanjay Choudhary were made directors in the company on August 2, 2008.
When contacted, Punamiya, chairman and managing director of the group, denied any links with Koda. Accepting that Sinha and Choudhary were directors in his company, Punamiya said they left two to four months back because of some dispute.
He confirmed that the I-T had conducted raids on his company, but said the department did not get any evidence of unaccounted transactions. He also denied that fake bills were issued to facilitate money transfer for Koda or his aides.